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The dramatic impact of WhatsApp’s outage on India

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Deeksha Jagga Sales Development Executive in Client Development 28/10/2021

On Monday, October 4th, all three platforms, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp owned by the American internet giant Facebook, faced a global outage around 9 PM (IST) for nearly 6 hours before regaining partial functionality. 

With 88% of gen pop using Facebook, 80% using Instagram, and a whopping 93% of the Indians using WhatsApp, India has the biggest consumer base for all three platforms with millions of users

WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram are the most prominent players in their industry, with an unwavering monopoly on the market. In developing countries such as India, users rely heavily on channels like WhatsApp. With 88% of gen pop using Facebook, 80% using Instagram, and a whopping 93% of the Indians using WhatsApp, India has the biggest consumer base for all three platforms with millions of users.  

Savanta polled some of the users across India on the impact of the outage. Out of those surveyed, 16% were unaware of the issue, and 84% were aware of the blackout. Out of the ones aware, 33% didn’t care about the problem, and 51% cared deeply about the issue.  

While the exact impact of all three apps shutting down was huge, during the blackout, 45% of people missed WhatsApp the most, 30% of the people in India missed Facebook the most, while only 25% missed Instagram the most. All three apps serve as a crucial communication tool to a developing economy like India, with most Indian businesses relying on WhatsApp as their primary communication tool for employees.

Throughout the outage, concern grew about whether user data and privacy had been threatened, considering Facebook’s recent history with data breaches and privacy laws. The blackout also made many users resort to Twitter voicing opinions and sharing a laugh with others amidst the state of panic and concern over the issue.  

With more than half of the population relying on mediums like WhatsApp for daily communication personally and professionally, this major outage has posed a serious question of whether a single company should have control over these apps. Despite drastically affecting most Indians, surprisingly, most people still believe that all three companies should still be owned by Facebook, regardless of the implications it may cause for future outages (77%). 

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